Sustainability in the surf

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New Zealand-born, Byron Bay-based Danny Clayton is the founder of Salt Gypsy - the rad independent surfwear label that celebrates female surf athleticism, diversity and style in the lineup.

Not only does she create the most lust worthy (and practical) surfwear for stylish ladies, she is also very conscious of how this is done - all her surf wear is sourced and produced with 100% regenerated yarn, making it good for you and for the planet! 

We caught up with Danny to talk sustainability and whittakers chocolate.

We love the story around how you came to start Salt Gyspy. Could you tell us a little about this?

Three words really - ladyballs and Singapore Slings! In 2010 a chance meeting led me to quit my job at Billabong NZ, buy a one way ticket to the Maldives and the rest is history ... 2012 was my third season working as a surf guide and that year I started a blog under the name, Salt Gypsy, had a couple pairs of surf leggings made for myself as I couldn't find anything in the marketplace, and started blogging shots of me wearing the leggings in the surf. At the time, there was zero promotion of the very concept of wearing leggings in the surf. The surf legging revolution you see today was born from our blog and the business Salt Gypsy is now began from the first customisable leggings we offered at the end of the 2012 surf season. It's been one helluva rollercoaster ever since!

Why are sustainable and ethical business practice such an important part of what you do?

After 5 years thrown into the deep end of fashion production, I've learnt 3 key things: 

  1. The volume of textile and plastic (polybag packaging) waste and pollution is prolific and terrifying.

  2. Fast fashion is killing our planet (tip - a good film to watch is The True Cost, available on Netflix. The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world). 

  3. There are better ways to produce and consume what we wear.

Salt Gypsy has been operating as a very lean start up - which means I didn't launch with a perfect end product and I'm continually tweaking the design, fit and cut with each production run we do in order to create my vision of the best quality product in the market - with the self-funded resources we have.  

Plus, I grew up in New Zealand in the era of campaigns such as "Support NZ Made," "Be A Tidy Kiwi," and " Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." It's in my cultural DNA and I simply don't see any other way to build a business other than to be as socially and environmentally responsible as possible. 

How important do you think is the role of the consumer in demanding social and ethical practices from businesses?

Very! As consumers, we need to use our hard-earned spending power on supporting the brands and businesses who are also working hard on making change and designing thoughtfully for the future. 

If your favourite brand is not using sustainable textiles or producing in a responsible way - demand to know why and let them know the traditional status quo (of fashion business) is outdated and frankly, has no place in our future.

We can´t resist the opportunity to get to know you a little better too! Can you tell us about your dream weekend?

At the moment, I'm 5 months pregnant and managing 2 fulltime businesses working 6-7 days a week so a weekend away with my fiance to any beach town with preggo-waves and an outdoor bath would be heaven right now!

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As a business owner who is self funded, self made and has an awesome attitude to the future of commerce, what´s the coolest part of being a lady boss?

Working and connecting with other rad ladyboss legends and talented oceanwomen. And being the manager of my own time to build a business (or two) around something I'm passionate about - sustainable women's surfwear.

Three things you couldn´t live without?

Whittaker's Chocolate (NZ-made is the best!), sunshine and my tenacity.

And finally, do you have any advice to someone who is looking to minimise their impact on the world around them? Where is a good place to start?

Buy from rad businesses and people doing the right thing and producing responsibly. Ditch fast fashion.

Want to find out more? We sure do! We are currently lusting after the amazing summer range to add to our ever expanding Salt Gypsy collection. You can check it out here or have a sneak peak below!